Golisano College community takes on the International Collegiate Programming Contest

RIT students took on some of the most prestigious universities across the northeast US and Canada in a computer programming contest. Five RIT student teams competed in the 2023 International Collegiate Programming Contest (ICPC) Northeast North America Regional event.

RIT’s Golisano College of Computing and Information Sciences is the headquarters of the ICPC Northeast North America Regional Contest.

This year, the regional contest was held on Feb. 25 with 84 teams from 19 universities located in New York, New England, Quebec, and Atlantic Canada. There were six in-person sites across the northeast, including one at RIT’s Golisano College.

For the contest, teams of up to three students compete to solve the largest number of problems within five hours—using a single computer. Many of the problems are algorithmic, aiming for computational efficiency. Solving the problem is not enough—if the code is not fast enough, the team is notified that the time limit has been exceeded, and they need to optimize their solution.

“This is an important real-life skill, and especially so with ever-growing amounts of data,” said Ivona Bezakova, a professor of computer science at RIT and the ICPC NENA Regional Contest Director. “The contest (and practicing for it) teaches students creativity, computational and algorithmic thinking, coding skills, attention to detail, testing and debugging skills, and teamwork. For these reasons, successful participation is highly valued by many employers.”

RIT placed eighth among the 19 universities at the region. Five RIT teams competed—all of which were first time competitors in the contest.

The top team at the RIT site placed 13th overall, solving seven problems. The team included Eric Karschner, a fourth-year computational mathematics major, Mohammed Raeesul Irfan Riaz Ahmed, a computer science Master’s student, and Quinn Tucker is a computer science BS/MS student.

The problems and the final scoreboard for the Northeast North America Regional Contest can be found at https://nena22.kattis.com/contests/nena22/standings. The top four universities—MIT, Harvard, Brown University, and McGill University—are advancing to the North America Championship, from which the top teams advance to the World Finals.

Bezakova said that the contest is inclusive and welcomes newcomer teams—“there are always problems that are solvable after taking an introductory computing class.” She also thanked the judges, site directors, technical setup, and RIT community members, including; Zack Butler, professor and interim department chair of computer science and ICPC NENA Deputy Regional Contest Director and RIT site director; Charity Chaaben; visiting lecturer in computer science; Varsha Dani; assistant professor of computer science; Michael Mior, assistant professor of computer science; Sean Strout, principal lecturer of computer science; Weijie Zhao, assistant professor of computer science; Jake Downie, a fifth-year computer science student; and Mark Ackerman, a second-year computer science student.

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